27 episodes

Martin Luther King, Jr. was the most famous black orator in history. But he was hardly alone. For generations, African Americans have been demanding justice and equality, reminding America to make good on its founding principles of democracy. These orators, and the very act of speaking out, played a crucial role in the long struggle for equal rights. Hear some of the seminal African American speakers of the century. Image © Steve Schapiro.

Say It Plain: Great African American Oratory American Public Media

    • Society & Culture

Martin Luther King, Jr. was the most famous black orator in history. But he was hardly alone. For generations, African Americans have been demanding justice and equality, reminding America to make good on its founding principles of democracy. These orators, and the very act of speaking out, played a crucial role in the long struggle for equal rights. Hear some of the seminal African American speakers of the century. Image © Steve Schapiro.

    Say It Plain: A Century of Great African American Oratory

    Say It Plain: A Century of Great African American Oratory

    us history sociology anthropology civil rights african-american political oratory segregation social change black history equal rights democracy reform freedom movements black pride freedom of speech martin luther king slavery Jim crow oppression

    • 50 min
    2009: President Obama Inaugural Address

    2009: President Obama Inaugural Address

    • 18 min
    2004: Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention

    2004: Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention

    policital science electoral politics african-american studies

    • 16 min
    1921: Explanation of the Universal Negro Improvement Assoc.

    1921: Explanation of the Universal Negro Improvement Assoc.

    us history segregation black history freedom democracy social change racism african american history civil rights

    • 3 min
    1895: Speech to Atlanta Cotton States Expo

    1895: Speech to Atlanta Cotton States Expo

    us history african american history slavery segregation civl rights historic speech archival

    • 3 min
    1939: "What Does American Democracy Mean to Me?"

    1939: "What Does American Democracy Mean to Me?"

    us history civil rights movement martin luther king segregation black history freedom democracy social change racism non-violence black power african american history voting rights

    • 5 min

Customer Reviews

Takkeem from North Philly ,

Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Minister Louis Farrakhan.

I agree that the Nation of Islam's influence particularly the Honorable Elijah Muhammad should be added to this collection. Minister Louis Farrakhan in particular has continued the tradition of speaking truth to power and being a voice for the voiceless and should be recognized in this collection also. Nonetheless I appreciate the hard work that has been put into this, and I sincerely thank all those involved in this project.

Girl Panther ,

Missed Opportunity

Not only was Malcolm X another extraordinary orator, who was well-respected in the African American community, but he also offered another viewpoint to the struggle for human rights. Without question he should have been included.

Bonnie Randolph ,

Blatant Omission

How in the world can you compile a listing of great African American orators and omit Malcolm X?????

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